Farmer In Raw Milk Case Answers Contempt Charges

WORTHINGTON, Minn. (AP) — A court hearing is postponed for the Minnesota dairy farmer accused of contempt for selling unpasteurized milk to customers.

A hearing Thursday in Sibley County District Court has been rescheduled for March 10.

State investigators say Michael Hartmann’s raw milk has made at least 15 people sick. After his dairy products were linked to an E. coli outbreak last spring, the state embargoed Hartmann’s products on his farm near Gibbon. When state investigators later returned to the farm, the products were gone.

Minnesota Public Radio News says Hartmann has denied wrongdoing.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

  • Scott Jungmann

    If the state wanted a case they should not have left the products behind. I wish Michael luck.

  • WT?

    Where was the State supposed to take the product? Your house? I’m guessing there aren’t a lot of evidence lockups with empty dairy tanks sitting around State property waiting for one case every 20 years. That would be a waste of tax dollars ;-)

    • wt?

      The whole thing is ridiculous. No one forced anyone to buy raw milk. At no point was he deceitful about it, the people buying it knew it was raw milk and the associated risks of doing so.
      The state embargoed his milk, but expected him to just store it for months. How many people have a month old jug of milk in their fridge? Why not?
      Where was he supposed to put the milk from the cows he was still milking? One cannot just stop milking the cows. Ask any woman who has breast fed what happens.
      The “state” needs something better to do than this.

  • teddp

    There were so many different factors that could of gone wrong on the consumer side of the milk, from leaving it in a warm car all afternoon to the kids leaving it out on the kitchen table. There is no need to pasturize to fresh milk from HEALTHY COWS, you destroy so many healthful aspects of the milk when you do so. It’s the industurial nature of the commerial dairy that requires that heating process. If the health benifits of Fresh Milk were to leak into the ‘mainstream’ the commerical dairy industry would be hurting, but all we hear about is the possiblity of people getting sick and how horrible it is (check the paper trail of the people who are shouting the negative comments from the top of their mountain…I’ll bet you that they/ their company are recieving some kind of “help” from the industry) The milk from the majority of the commerical dairy herds can’t keep their calves alive… just think about how that’s transfering to our human health. The average age of the commerical dairy cow in the USA has been cut in half after the introduction of soy mash and the waste products from the ethanol industry, let alone her level of buttermiilk production. (can a mother produce good milk for her baby if she is living off of ‘food like substances’ and ‘fast food’??)

    • Thom

      A very good description of the fallacy of the state’s case. People need to do a little research in order to make an informed, individual opinion rather than relying on the blather that the commercial interests and the state put out. Look up what led to institution of mandatory pasteurization. The largest increase in cases of milk born disease are tied pretty closely to the dawning of large milking operations and commercial involvement.

  • ALN

    If there is a requirement for milk to be pasteurized, that’s the requirement. If you don’t like it, change the requirement–DON’T just decide that you don’t have to follow it. It’s there for a reason and if you don’t think it’s justified, state your case and have the rules changed.

    You don’t have the right to break a law (or rule or regulation) just because you don’t think it should apply to you.

    I personally don’t think raw milk is safe. But whether you agree with me ot not, you still can’t break the rules just because you don’t like them.

    • Ed Davis

      There is an exception to the requirement where raw milk can be sold at the place of production. Therefore, the sale of raw milk IS LEGAL.

  • wt?

    There is also the exception in the statute that raw milk can be sold, provided it is directly to the consumer AT the point of production(ie farm). This is what happened. He didn’t break the law.

    • Thom

      The state is stating that the milk was distributed from a place off the farm. Of course, one can only trust the government as far as one can throw it.

  • schram

    I milked cows and sold my (Grade B) milk both to a creamery and to individuals who came to my place to buy it. Before doing so I contacted the Health Department and was informed that it was not illegal to sell raw milk as long as I did not market it. The customers had to come to me. I made sure my cows were all vaccinated and the creamery where I sold the milk always took a bacteria count on the milk I delivered to them. My milk ALWAYS was way under the requirements for Grade A milk. I drank the milk and fed it to my family and would never have sold milk that I would not have felt comfortable with doing that. I, personally, would prefer not to drink PASTUERIZED milk from a farmer who would not feed his raw milk to his family (although many don’t), although having seen the conditions at many dairy farms that do sell milk for processing for commercial consumption I understand why they don’t.

    I would suggest that if you want to know what real milk tastes like try buying milk in glass bottles. Applewood Farms in Forest Lake is a producer and sells its product at Festival and other stores. It may not be raw milk but it is light years ahead of the other junk you find in the dairy section. It is the best milk I have tasted since I milked my own.

    • Thom

      That is the best bottled milk there is in the supermarket! You are right about the conditions. Growing up in Wisconsin, we lived next door to a dairy farm and they gave us raw milk. My mother never balked because we had seen the inside of the barns and how healthy their cows were. They were grass fed in the summer and ate quality hay and grains in the winter. The place was as clean as one could expect for a barn and the milking parlor was spotless before the cows came in and made spotless after they left. I drank raw milk for several years without a problem. It always comes down to knowing your producer, something you don’t know when picking up a gallon of regular milk at the grocery.

  • schram

    Correction: That is AUTUMNWOOD FARMS glass bottled milk. Good stuff!

    • Cyd

      I grew up on a hobby farm; we had cows and always had raw milk. It is THE MOST healthy, nutritious and tasty. ALN is right, the greed of large commercial operations pouring dollars into government pockets created the fallacy of pasteurization.
      I am looking for a provider for raw milk near the northern suburbs. I live in Fridley. Any suggestions out there?

  • Ed Davis

    For anybody interested in preserving the right to buy raw foods such as raw milk, please contact your state legislators about HF 255 and SF 147. The bill amends the distribution restrictions in the law that allows farmers to sell raw milk via direct sales to MN residents for their personal use.

    Both bills are in the ag committees of both bodies and need citizen support to get it on the agenda. In fact, tomorrow is dairy day at the capitol and the ag committees are likely to discuss the dairy day. It would be a good time to express your interest in less restrictions to our family farmers and their products.

    Use this link to determine who represents you.

    House Ag Committee
    TUESDAY, February 15, 2011 @ 10:15 AM
    Room: Basement State Office Building
    Chair: Rep. Rod Hamilton

    Agenda: Ag literacy
    Dairy Day – Dairy Development, Dairy Research & Educational Center report

    Senate Ag Committee
    Tuesday, February 15, 2011 @ 1 PM
    Committee on Agriculture and Rural Economies
    Chair: Sen. Doug Magnus
    Room 107 Capitol
    Updates and Trends in Minnesota Grain Industries

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